OMAHA, Neb. — No. 7 seed Mississippi State baseball fell 8-5 to No. 2 Texas in a game that lasted into early Saturday morning at TD Ameritrade Park, setting up a pivotal win-or-go-home game Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.
The Bulldogs (47-17) scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game before giving up a three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning that gave the Longhorns (50-16) the win.
Senior pitcher Houston Harding got the start and allowed three runs on four hits in 4 2⁄3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Junior Brandon Smith (4-4) was charged with the loss after allowing one run in 1 2⁄3 innings. He struck out one batter and walked two.
Texas redshirt sophomore starting pitcher Ty Madden fanned eight batters and walked three in six innings. He surrendered two runs on four hits. Freshman Aaron Nixon (4-3) got the final five outs to earn the win.
The Longhorns took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to a solo home run from redshirt junior Zach Zubia. In the bottom half, senior Rowdey Jordan led off with a single to right field and moved up to second on a groundout. Sophomore Kamren James plated him with an RBI single up the middle before sophomore Logan Tanner gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead with an RBI single through the left side.
In the top of the second inning, freshman Mitchell Daly and redshirt freshman Douglas Hodo III hit singles before pulling off a double steal. A sacrifice fly scored Daly and made it 2-2.
The Longhorns retook the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Hodo drew a walk and was sacrificed to second. Redshirt freshman Silas Ardoin reached on a free pass before redshirt senior Mike Antico hit an RBI single into center field to make it 3-2.
Texas increased its lead to 5-2 in the top of the seventh inning. Redshirt freshman Trey Faltine found himself at second after his fly ball was lost in the lights. He advanced to third on a passed ball and Antico scored him with an RBI single to center field. After that, redshirt sophomore Eric Kennedy drew a walk scored on redshirt sophomore Ivan Melendez’s single to left field.
Senior Tanner Allen led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double to left-center field. A groundout advanced him to third before junior Luke Hancock and Tanner drew walks to load the bases. Graduate student Scotty Dubrule drew a walk to score Allen before junior Brad Cumbest tied the game with a two-RBI single to make it a 5-5 ballgame.
Antico drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Zubia was walked before Melendez hit a three-run home run left-center to end the game’s scoring at 8-5.
The Bulldogs and Longhorns will play again on Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 for a trip to the College World Series finals on the line.